THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 4, 2003 – SUNDAY OCTOBER 26, 2003
Urban Renewal: The City without a Ghetto was part of a constellation of projects that investigated how inhabited areas came to be labeled as officially unwanted, unneeded, or unimportant, and the various means used in attempts to remove, renew, revitalize, or redevelop these areas through planning. Using Urban Renewal as a point of departure, this exhibition examined selected episodes and themes in New York and Chicago, the primary case study cities.
"East New York cannot be repaired. The area must be leveled and rebuilt in stages." Robert Moses, Summary of Proposed Brooklyn Slum Clearance Project, 1968
"A ghetto can be improved in one way only: out of existence." James Baldwin, Fifth Avenue Uptown, 1961
How do you make a City without a Ghetto? In Post WW II America, the answer was Urban Renewal. Beginning with the Housing Act of 1949, the US federal government made large sums of money available to cities to obtain, clear, and redevelop “slums and blighted areas.” This program, known after 1954 as Urban Renewal, resulted in the leveling of thousands of acres across the country and the construction of a wide variety of new urban material ‰ a vast experiment where sections of city were scrubbed clean and then used as architectural petri dishes. From the gleaming white Lincoln Center arts complex on the Upper West Side to 300 vacant beachfront acres in Far Rockaway, Queens, the physical evidence of Urban Renewal in New York City is overwhelming. As massive redevelopment projects are once again under way and the vocabulary of Urban Renewal resurfaces, an overview of and contemporary commentary on the legacy of these governmental programs becomes increasingly relevant.
In this exhibition, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) examines Urban Renewal and the cultural dynamics that both gave it shape and contributed to its demise as a method for making the ideal city. Urban Renewal: The City without a Ghetto is part of a constellation of projects that address how areas of human habitat have come to be labeled as officially unwanted, unneeded, or unimportant, and how various means have been used in attempts to remove, renew, revitalize, or redevelop these areas through planning.